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Izzy Taylor leads Bramham 3* with sublime dressage test

Izzy Taylor and Orlando put up a sub-30 score to take the lead in the CCI3* class at the Bramham International Horse Trials.

Izzy Taylor and Orlando put up a sub-30 score to take the lead in the CCI3* class at the Bramham International Horse Trials. © Tara Hector

Britain’s Izzy Taylor posted an almost unheard of score of 28.1 in the dressage at the CCI3* Bramham International Horse Trials on Friday.

Riding the French-bred Orlando, Taylor’s face was a picture as the commentator announced the amazing score to an expectant crowd. The elegant chestnut, owned by Di Davies, Irene Graham and Anita Dalton, consistently scored eights and nines with a single perfect ten to finish for Taylor’s riding from one judge.

Izzy Taylor and Orlando.

Izzy Taylor and Orlando. © Tara Hector

This gives them more than 10 penalties in hand over Thursday’s leader, Belgium’s Karin Donkers with Lamicell Unique on 38.5.  Third last to go Pippa Funnell snuck into third with Or Noir de la Loge with the only other sub 40 score to upset Mark Todd’s stranglehold on the top five as he lies fourth and fifth with NZB Campino and Amacuzzi respectively.

A stunned Taylor said: “He felt good and there weren’t any particular mistakes – perhaps his changes let him down a little. He’s attractive with good paces and flatwork is his thing but I never expected a 28! We got 37 at Chatsworth and I thought today’s test was worth about the same but was surprised with the mark.”

She is looking forward to riding the cross country test set by designer Ian Stark. “It’s our first three-day together and he has some super CIC form from last year so tomorrow will be interesting.  You never really know what they have until you ask. It’s a nice track; I like Ian’s courses as they suit my riding style,” she said.

The Equi-Trek CCI gets the cross country action underway at 9am on saturday, with Oliver Townend first out on ODT Ghareeb.

Images below: © Tara Hector

CIC3*

Mary King congratulates former ride Chilli Morning and William Fox-Pitt after they took the lead in the dressage phase of the CIC3*.

Mary King congratulates former ride Chilli Morning and William Fox-Pitt after they took the lead in the dressage phase of the CIC3*. © Tara Hector

• There was little change to the top ten in the CIC3* after the second day of dressage, with William Fox-Pitt still holding a commanding lead with Christopher Stone’s stallion Chilli Morning. The remaining top five is unaltered with the exception of Zara Phillips, who lies equal fifth on her 2012 London partner High Kingdom, owned by Gleadhill Stud.

William Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning.

William Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning. © Tara Hector

Oliver Townend is Fox-Pitt’s nearest rival, albeit 11.6 penalties behind with his ride Black Tie II , owned by Karyn Shuter on 43.1.  It’s then very tight over the next three places, with 18-year-old Emily King just 0.9 of a penalty behind in third on Patsy Mason’s Mr Hiho with 44.0.

Dressage specialist Ruth Edge is fourth with Hip Hop Hero on 44.2 with Ros Canter completing the top five on Allstar B with 44.8.

Fox-Pitt was clearly pleased with his test. “I’m delighted. He’s very talented on the flat and I know he can do it, but making it happen is then down to me. It’s added pressure on me that way but today he felt relaxed and soft. It felt like a good test and it’s always great when the judges’ marks reflect that.”

Competing at Bramham was always the plan for Chilli Morning, as Fox-Pitt is aiming for a place on the British Team for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy this September. The combination were competing at last month’s Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth CIC3* and were competitive after dressage and show jumping but Fox-Pitt resisted temptation and saved him for this Yorkshire trip.

“He likes it here and I know Ian (Stark) always builds a strong course which suits him. He had an easy time while I was at Badminton so wasn’t at his peak for Chatsworth but he’s ready for this Saturday,” Fox-Pitt said.

Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning are bidding for a third consecutive Bramham win – albeit in different sections.

The CIC3* class showjumps from 9am on Saturday in number order and they then go cross country later in the day after the CCI3* and u25CCI.

• It was déjà vu in the Bishop Burton College CCI3* u25 section when dressage ended with Dani Evans and Vanessa Watson’s Raphael II atop the leaderboard, as was the case in 2013. This year they’ve bettered their score with 37.3, even with an error of course. Evans puts the improvement down to being part of the lottery funded UK Sport World Class Programme and the help she receives from it.

“He was lovely today. That’s his personal best at 3* and it’s great to see that we can continue to improve each year. Being on the World Class Programme has really helped,” Evans said.

“I was so focused during the test and lost my way.  I knew as soon as I’d done it but you feel like you’ve let the horse and your owners down but it was still a 37 and I know there’s more to come.”

In second spot is Wills Oakden who was last to go with David Kenwright’s Greystone Midnight Melody with 44.2. Lydia Hannon completes the top three with My Royal Touch on 47.3.

The Under 25s are sandwiched between the CCI and CIC sections on cross country on Saturday, and run from 12.44 to 13.58.

William Fox Pitt and Freddie Mac, Pippa Funnell and Or Noir De La Loge, Tina Cook and Star Witness, and Mark Todd and Amacuzzi.

Top guns: enjoying a leg stretch after the dressage phase, from left – William Fox Pitt and Freddie Mac, Pippa Funnell and Or Noir De La Loge, Tina Cook and Star Witness, and Mark Todd and Amacuzzi. © Tara Hector

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